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The stuff of champions!

Updated on: 17 May,2022 08:01 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Ashwin Ferro | ashwin.ferro@mid-day.com

India’s head coach Pullela Gopichand talks to mid-day on each player who made the Thomas Cup victory possible on Sunday

The stuff of champions!

Pullela Gopichand

It is said that team work makes the dream work. And that’s exactly what India’s national badminton head coach Pullela Gopichand attributes the epic Thomas Cup win by the men’s team in Bangkok to. 

“This team not only competed hard, but also helped each other along the way and that’s what makes this win so special,” says Gopichand of  India’s historic gold medal feat in the world team event, beating 14-time champions Indonesia  3-0 in the final on Sunday. 

The former All-England champion goes on to highlight the individual effort put in by the members of India’s champion badminton team.

On Lakshya Sen... 

Lakshya Sen

The illness [he was down with food poisoning on arrival in Bangkok] was a problem, but Lakshya overcome it on time. In his initial matches, he was chasing the shuttle quite a bit and you could see that he was struggling on court, particularly in the corners. In the final too, he went a game down and many would have thought that it will be tough to make a comeback against a player like Anthony Ginting, but he fought back well and made every point count. Lakshya is a well-known player now and opponents do tend to read him, so that cannot be easy to deal with. But he showed his true character and grit in the final to give India a crucial 1-0 lead. 

On Kidambi Srikanth...

Kidambi Srikanth

Srikanth has been in some good form lately. He performed excellently, winning all his matches. The way he troubled Jonatan Christie in the final was very impressive. He put a lot of pressure on Christie, who is the reigning Asian Games gold medallist. Srikanth has been working very hard on his game and his good form is proof of the effort he has put into his training. He has beaten some top names in the recent past, including Denmark’s Anders Antonsen [World No.3]. I believe Srikanth can reclaim that World No.1 ranking again. 

On Satwiksairaj Rankireddy & Chirag Shetty...

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy & Chirag Shetty

While it’s great that we have three strong singles players in the men’s team, it’s even better to have such a fine doubles pair in Satwik and Chirag. Both are physically strong players and fast too. They displayed their strength well on court with some hard smashes, particularly Satwik. To save four match points in that second game in the final was wonderful. They’ve been playing smartly and aggressively which is great. I really hope they build on this and keep playing together for long as that could only mean great news for Indian badminton.

On HS Prannoy...

HS Prannoy

Prannoy had some issues with his breathing and picked up a foot injury. To still play so well is creditable. Whenever a doubt creeps in due to injury or any other factor, it’s tough to get over it. His foot would have been troubling him, but he fought on and did well to win his quarter-final and semi-final ties. Both were crucial wins, considering India won them by a close 3-2 scoreline. 

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